Monday, December 21, 2009

A Special Thank You

A special thank you to teachers Scott Murphy, Henry Keyes, and Laura Kirshenbaum, and to BYKOTA (middle school youth group) advisors Martha Favre, Scott Hayman, and Diane Oullet, all of whom braved the weather to arrive at church on Sunday in order to be with our children! We enjoyed an intimate Spirit Play lesson with five children through the fifth grade, and seven of our middle schoolers went after church to volunteer at the Little Store, which has been collecting Christmas gifts for families in need this winter. We appreciated the presence of all these children, and a special time to get to know them even better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What to Expect at the Christmas Eve Worship Service

We are looking forward to a beautiful Christmas Eve worship service on Thursday, December 24th here at First Unitarian Church.

We will have two identical worship services this year, so the 4:00 and 5:30 services will provide the same experience.

The worship service is fairly brief and consists of Christmas readings, choir music, and singing Christmas carols (they are usually fairly familiar carols for our kids). There are no elements designed specifically for children, but the service is planned as an opportunity for families to worship together.

We expect some rustling from kids...as the Rev. Merritt wisely points out each year, it wasn't quiet in the stable when Jesus was born either ;-). A couple highlights of the service for our kids:

1. The congregation is invited to recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas" together, and everyone mumbles along. Many of our children know this poem very well and can join in.
2. The finale of our service, as is tradition, is to lower the lights and light candles as we sing "Silent Night." This is always quite impressive, especially for our children who regard it as a precious memory from year to year.

One of our parents told us a story last year about how her son, then two years old, heard the choir on Christmas Eve, and leaned into her shoulder where tears streamed down his cheeks. She checked to make sure he was okay, and he was...he was simply very moved by the beautiful music. He has been talking affectionately about this service and its music since that time, and is so excited to come back this Christmas Eve.

It's a powerful worship service for all ages, and we sincerely look forward to seeing your family. In fact, we hope you'll invite your extended family and/or friends to attend with you. Please feel free to contact us at 508-757-2708 with any questions. You can dial extension 105 to reach the religious education office if you have specific questions about family participation.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Did you miss the teen choir's Mummer's Play?

If you missed the teen choir's fabulous performance of their own Mummer's Play at the Master Singers Boar's Head festival last weekend, don't worry! There will be a repeat performance at the Holden Street church this coming Sunday at 9:00am.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Children and Youth Ministry Schedule Notations

Notes For Monday, December 21st
This is the day of our annual Christmas Potluck dinner, at 6:30pm. Bring the whole family, and if you'd like, friends who have been interested in joining the church. It is a festive gathering of the tribe! Hosted by our Advent Group, all members and friends of the church are invited to bring a dish to pass, and the wish to get to know one another better. Children are especially welcome. Sign up is helpful for planning dishes, but not required. The sign up form is on the bulletin board between the Bancroft and Dining Rooms. Categories of food include bread, salads, vegetables, main dishes (omnivore and vegetarian), desserts, and drinks.


Notes For Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th
Due to high attendance in previous years, this year we are holding two worship services on Christmas Eve. Please join us, and we hope you'll bring friends and family. The worship services will be identical, and will be held at 4:00 and 5:30pm. This is a family time, so there will not be childcare, and we expect the sanctuary will have some rustling. When the baby was in the stable, afterall, it surely was not perfectly quiet. Contrary to prior announcements, there is no "coffee" or "cider" hour planned at this time for between the services. However, if any of you would like to organize one, please contact the church office.


Notes For Sunday, December 27th
Due to the 2009 budget shortfall, we will be closing the church building and all programs this final week of the budget year. This closure will include Sunday programming in addition to Monday Night at the Church activities and all other events through the new year holiday. All church offices will be closed, and the church will be kept dark and without heat. There will not be a worship service on December 27th, nor will there be children's classes or youth groups.

Notes For Sunday, January 3rd
On this Sunday, our prekindergarten through third graders will return to classes. Our 4th-12th graders will be celebrating our entry into our 225th year as a congregation, either through their attendance at a worship service on our history as a congregation or by working on a time capsule and/or 225th banner for the sanctuary. The exact plans will be announced shortly. In the meantime, if any of you are willing to help with a time capsule project, a banner project, or in the interview of church elders, please speak with Sierra-Marie, Director of Religious Education. On this Sunday, January 3rd, a history display board will be unveiled in the Bancroft Room.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, December 20th

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade Classes (Spirit Play): When you come to class this week, be sure to look at the altar for the Kwanzaa Kinara, the Hanukkah Menorah, the Advent Wreath, and a Winter Solstice candle. We'll be thinking about the many festivals of light. Laura and Gina will be our teachers in prekindergarten, Renee and Diane in kindergarten, and Joonu and Vivian in first grade.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): Come make a simplified piƱata and celebrate Las Posadas with us. Las Posadas is a holiday of Mexico and some other Latin American countries. It comes before Christmas, as the journey of Mary and Joseph to the inn of Jesus' birth is recalled. Joyce and Kim will teach us.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): In this season as Jesus' birth is celebrated, we'll continue looking at the person Jesus grew to be. With teachers Scott Murphy and Henry Keyes, and through costumes and drama, this Sunday we will discover how Jesus chose his close companions. See Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, and Luke 5:1-11 and 8:1-3.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace), 7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology), and 9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Middle Schoolers, this Sunday afternoon please join us for our BYKOTA event, during which we'll be helping at "The Little Store" with donated Christmas gifts. Please note that there will NOT BE morning classes for 6th-12th grade or youth group THIS Sunday, including the "Our Whole Lives" values-based sexuality education class for 7th-8th graders. Instead, we have been invited to the worship service to enjoy "music Sunday."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thank You To Many Volunteers


Thank you again to all of our pageant parents and especially the MANY volunteers who made the Christmas pageant a success this year.

Director
Kris J.

Growing Times Choir Director
Madeline B.

Musical Accompanist
Cindy B.

Costumers
Cindy C.
Sue P.
Gina D.

Hair Master
Michele B.

Kid Wranglers
Kim N.
Jen M.

Assistants
Abigail H.R.
Kelley G.
Jerry B.
Laura K.
Brooke B.
Gina R.
Amy B.
Seth P.
Jennifer W.C.
Anita K.
Sue P.
Linda W.
Michele B.
Karen M.
Christine S.

(our apologies for accidental omissions...we had such a great and big crowd of helpers this year)

Staff Assistants
Abigail H.R.
Donna R.
Jim M.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't Miss the Teen Choir Mummer's Play

Don't miss the teen choir in the Master Singer's Boar's Head festival, during which teens from our congregation and the Holden Street congregation will together perform their own Mummer's Play. This is a fun way to celebrate the season! The performance takes place across the street at the Wesley United Methodist Church at 4:00pm on Saturday, December 12th. Please call the Master Singers at (508) 842-1349 for ticket price lists or orders.

Worcester Community Item of Interest



The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported today that there will be a showing of the movie "Consuming Kids," free and open to the public on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:00pm at the Worcester Public Library. The viewing will be followed by a discussion led by Josh Golin, Associate Director of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood in Boston.

Parent Help For the Pageant

If you have a child in the pageant, please help with one of the following.
  • We could use one or two more “wranglers” for our children who can come to the pageant rehearsal this Saturday and then help the children at the pageant on Sunday. We are in particular need of another shepherd wrangler, and perhaps someone to help the wise people and Mary and Joseph with their cues.
  • Parents, please bring a snack for the children to share to Saturday's rehearsal and/or on Sunday morning if you can. Fresh fruit, cherry tomatoes, and carrot and celery sticks with dip all make particularly good non-allergenic snacks.
  • We will need three or four Growing Times Choir assistants to help the children with the halos and during “waiting” time. We also need a volunteer to signal the choir director when it is time for the children to come upstairs and sing. Please contact Sierra-Marie to volunteer.
  • We have one "hair accessory master" who has volunteered to help the children bobby pin their hairpieces into place on Sunday, but we could use up to two or three more.

Pageant Costumes

Growing Times Choir and Christmas Pageant cast, below is a rundown of what to wear on pageant Sunday.

Growing Times Choir: Just come in whatever lovely clothes your parents ask you to wear. You are most welcome to wear your holiday clothes. Be sure to spend a lot of time practicing nice signing voices for your songs this week, and then please just bring your smiles.

If you want you can also bring a stuffed animal for our “woodland animal” props. We’ll give you a special garland halo, and we’ll have jingle bells for you to ring at the appropriate time.

Narrators: Dress nicely. If you have any special holiday clothes, you can wear those as well.

Joseph, Innkeeper, Herod, Wise People, Shepherds: Wear lightweight clothing (those robes are hot and heavy). Once you arrive, please wear sandals or slippers on your feet.

Mary, Gabriel, Star, Angels: Wear lightweight clothing. Also make sure your clothing is light in color as you are wearing white or light colored robes. Once you arrive, please wear sandals or slippers on your feet.

Additional Notes:
1. Please don’t spend money on your shoes. For costumed parts, we would prefer you wear slippers, ballet shoes, or sandles, but if you don’t have any, wear something simple or just wear what you have. Please no furry crazy slippers—they are adorable but not for the pageant.

2. All costume-wearing pageant participants were fitted for the pageant at rehearsal last Saturday. If you were not present for the rehearsal last Saturday, please come 15 minutes before your rehearsal time to get fitted. We have only one day for last minute alterations, which will be a tall order for our most gracious costume volunteers.

Pageant Weekend Schedule

This weekend is not only our final days of preparation for the pageant, but also our pageant itself. The pageant will be presented in the context of the worship service on December 13th.

Below is a basic outline of the schedule for the weekend. Please see your mailbox this week for a more detailed schedule.

Saturday, December 12th, 9 am– 12:00 pm: Rehearsal for all cast members. Angels and shepherds don't need to arrive until 10:00am, but all cast members, please be prompt.

Sunday, December 13th, 8:45 am: This is the morning of the dress rehearsal. All cast members should arrive by 8:45 am sharp to be dressed in costume and ready to rehearse at 9:00 am on the dot!

Sunday, December 13th, 9:45 am: Our “Growing Times Choir,” made up of children from our preschool and kindergarten class, will not have another rehearsal until this, our dress rehearsal immediately prior to the performance. Please arrive promptly at 9:45 am on Sunday if your child would like to sing in the choir.

Sunday, December 13th, 10:30 am: The Christmas pageant is the “sermon” portion of the worship service. We begin worship at 10:30 a.m.

See you this weekend, and call Sierra-Marie with any questions at 508-757-2708 ext. 105! Thanks for your participation...this will be a lot of fun!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shepherds Wanted!


We're short shepherds for this year's Christmas pageant. If your child is in the 1st grade and up and has been on the fence about being a pageant participant, please let him or her know that we need more shepherds, and that his or her participation would be a wonderful addition to the show. We'd love to have your child's participation, so please contact Sierra-Marie at 508 757 2708 x. 105 or s mg er fao @ fir stun ita rian .co m (take out all spaces).

Christmas Pageant Rehearsal Schedule


Christmas Pageant rehearsals for participating children in the 1st through 8th grade begin this Saturday, December 5th. We'll rehearse from 9:00am-12:00pm. Shepherds and angels need only attend from 10:00am-12:00pm. All cast members, please be sure to arrive promptly.

Our second rehearsal will take place on Saturday, December 12th at the same times, and our final rehearsal is our dress rehearsal. The dress rehearsal is held the morning of the pageant, and then the pageant takes place during worship later that morning.
Please note that there are still openings in the pageant, so if your child would like to participate but has not yet signed up, contact Sierra-Marie at 508 757 2708 x. 105 or s m ge rfao @ fi rstuni tari an. com (take out all spaces) right away.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, December 6, 2009

PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grades (Spirit Play classes): This Sunday we will learn about christenings in preparation for the child christenings that will take place during the worship service at the Christmas pageant. Our teachers in prek this Sunday will be Suzanne and Laura, in kindergarten will be Lee and Renee, and in 1st grade will be Vivian and Joonu.

**Important: please note that both preschool and kindergarten will rehearse songs together for the pageant from 11:35-11:50, so please pickup your preK and kindergarten students at 11:50 instead of 11:40. We will return to our normal schedule after the pageant on the 13th.

2nd-3rd Grades (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday we'll be celebrating a victory for religious freedom and a light that would not go out in a lesson on Hanukkah. This year the first day of Hanukkah is December 12th, so the first candle will be lit on December 11th. Our teachers will be Kim and Joyce.

4th-5th Grades (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): As we prepare for the Christmas pageant, we'll get a little out of order this week so that we can do our lesson titled "unto you a child is born," which covers Jesus' birth. See Matthew 1:18, 2:1-20, and Luke 2:1-20. Our teachers will be Cindy and Henry.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Let's work on our Church School video project! We'll do some filming, and we also might be taking a look at this article. Our teachers will be Scott and Brandt, and he will be accompanied by our special guest...the Rev. Thomas Schade.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): Join us this Sunday as we watch and discuss the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". You are welcome to bring some popcorn or a no-nut Christmas treat to share. Our teachers will be Jen and Gina.

**Note: BYKOTA (middle school youth group) meeting and OWL (middle school Our Whole Lives class) take place this Sunday. The BYKOTA meeting is at 9:00am as usual, and the OWL class is at 12:30pm as usual.

YRU2 (High School Youth Group): Please join us for check-in, music, discussion, and social time this Sunday. See you there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Middle Schoolers Don't Forget Sunday's Event


(Originally a Save the Date post from November)
Updated Monday December 14th

This coming Sunday, December 20th, BYKOTA (our middle school youth group) will eat bagged lunches together after worship and then head over to the Little Store, a thrift shop on Chandler Street.

The Little Store is a collection site for donated holiday gifts for kids. Our youth group spends the afternoon (12:30-3:30pm) helping to get the gifts ready for the kids who will be receiving them. Our middle schoolers often say this is one of their favorite and most rewarding events of the year. You won't want to miss it!

Permission forms were distributed at the BYKOTA December meeting and will also be in your mailbox this week, in case your form is missing. You need only bring a bagged lunch and your form on Sunday.

Note: There will not be an Our Whole Lives 7th-8th Grade class (the sex ed class) again until January 3rd, so there is no time conflict for students of this class at that event.

Happy Advent!


Happy holidays from the Faith Development office! We have a "homemade advent calendar kit" for your family as a holiday gift. It will be waiting for you in the Bancroft Room Sunday November 29th or at the Green Christmas party in Unity Hall, Sunday, December 6th.

Sunday, November 29th: An Intergenerational Worship Service

This coming Sunday we will worship as a congregation of all ages. There will not be children's classes -- including OWL -- or high school youth group. Instead, we will go to the sanctuary together and worship through:
  • Singing

  • Lighting our first advent candle

  • Prayer

  • Bread communion (in addition to "regular" bread, we will have some gluten, soy, and dairy free bread...however, please note that this gluten/soy/dairy free bread does contain almond milk)

We'll need ushers in the 4th-7th grade. These individuals will have a special role in the worship service, so will need to arrive at 10am on the dot on Sunday to be trained.

When children arrive on Sunday, they should pick up a worship workbook on their way into the sanctuary. There will also be a quiet sensory/kinesthetic object that comes with the workbook.

Finally, it is helpful to speak ahead of time to your children about what a worship service is like. For very young children, it may be helpful to bring a couple small, silent toys or books for them to access as needed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

From the UUA Bookstore

If you were thinking about purchasing any of the faith-affirming gifts for children, youth, and young adults on this list, you might be interested in this message from the UUA bookstore...

Dear Friends,

We've had a wonderful response to our ongoing free shipping offer (ends November 24)! Many of you are taking this opportunity to save on shipping for books that are not yet published, like A People So Bold: Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists and Sunday and Every Day: My Little Book of Unitarian Universalism.

I've added new titles and products to our Holiday Gift Guide and to our list of new books, including one about Hanukkah for children.

Sincerely,
Rose Hanig, UUA Bookstore Manager

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buy a Pie


Planning your Thanksgiving celebrations? You can buy a pie for Thanksgiving and support our youth group at the same time. Please stop by the high school youth group's pie/bake sale table at fellowship ("coffee") hour on Sunday.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, November 22, 2009

PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grades (Spirit Play classes): This Sunday we will enjoy a small bread communion together, and hear the story of bread communion, in preparation for the bread communion that we will have together as a whole congregation during the all ages worship service on Sunday, November 29th. Our teachers in prek this Sunday will be Kelley and Suzanne, in kindergarten will be Carrie and Lee, and in 1st grade will be Amy and Jen.

**Important: please note that our preschoolers will be going to worship again this week with all other kids, at 10:30.

However, both preschool and kindergarten will be rehearsing songs together for the pageant from 11:35-11:50 this class and next, so please pickup your preK and kindergarten students at 11:50 instead of 11:40.

We will return to our normal schedule after the pageant on the 13th.

2nd-3rd Grades (Holidays and Holy Days): As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in the gifts of love and service to others which are especially celebrated at this time of year. This Sunday we will gather and enjoy the beautiful Swedish custom of the candle-crowned Lucia maiden who heralds the winter solstice and the arrival of Christmas with music. This holiday is celebrated every December 13th in Sweden. Our teachers will be Colleen and Dave.

4th-5th Grades (Jesus and the Kingdrom of Equals): Last Sunday we had a "special guest" visit our group, and this Sunday we will hear how he (John the Baptist) baptized Jesus. Come find out with us! See Matthew 3: 1-17, Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:21-22. Our teacher will be Cindy, and she will be assisted by parent helper John.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Oops! We had a mix-up last week and started our lesson on "The First U: Unitarianism." This Sunday we will do what was announced for last week...the first of four sessions on Unitarian Universalism. The lesson is called simply "Unitarian Universalism." During this series, we'll explore Unitarian Universalist ideas about morality. We'll have a play to act out and bumper stickers to make, so you won't want to miss this! Scott and Jill will be our teachers.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We'll finish viewing Antwone Fisher during Church School on Sunday, and conclude our discussion of forgiveness. Our Whole Lives (OWL), our sex. ed. class, will happen at our usual 12:30pm time, and we will have a special guest panel visiting this class.

**6th, 7th, and 8th Graders please note that our next BYKOTA (middle school youth group) meeting is on Sunday, December 6th. On Sunday, December 13th, we'll be heading over to the "Little Store" to sort and or wrap donated Christmas gifts.

9th-12th Grade (YRU2, high school youth group): Join us for youth group on Sunday followed by a pie sale Thanksgiving fundraiser during coffee hour. Don't forget to bake some yummy pies to sell!

Pageant Openings

Kids, there is still time to sign up for the Christmas pageant, but please contact Sierra-Marie at 508- 757- 2708 x. 105 or sm ge rfao @fi rst un itari an. com (take out all spaces) right away if you want to sign up.

The openings at this time are:

1. 2 wisepeople
2. At least a couple more shepherds

Thank you to the many parents who have already signed up to help out with the pageant and rehearsals. We have only these slots left for this big production, and would love your help in filling them:
  • 2 "Kid Wranglers"
  • 1-2 "Holiday Crafts People"
  • 3 Snack Kings and Queens
  • 1 Costumer
  • 3 Props Assistants
  • 2 Hair Accessory Masters
  • 1 Directors Assistant
The Pageant sign-up table in the Bancroft Room during coffee hour has a volunteer sheet with more information about each of these positions, or you can see the volunteer sheet sent home to you via snail mail.

Rehearsals are on Saturday, December 5th and Saturday, December 12th from 9:00am-12:00pm for narrators and primary roles, and 10:00am-12:00pm for angels and shepherds.

Angles and shepherds are encouraged to come to both rehearsals for the most successful experience, but are only required to come to one. On Pageant morning, Sunday, December 13th, we have a dress rehearsal prior to our actual "showtime" during the worship service.

Thanks for your help. This promises to be a great year of the pageant!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Want to Know What the Teen Choir is Up To This Month?

Friday, November 13
  • Coffeehouse performance at the Holden Street church (90 Holden Street). If you are not a member of the teen choir, please come see this most excellent lineup and support the youth in their fundraising endeavor. Buy tickets at the door for only $5! The performances begin at 7:00pm. Teen choir members please be sure to go a little early for the extra rehearsal at 5:30pm.

Sunday, November 15-Sunday, December 6th
  • If you are a teen who auditioned for the Mummer's Play, please note that rehearsals begin Sunday November, 15th and continue straight through to December 6th, 6-8 pm every Sunday (INCLUDING Thanksgiving Weekend Sunday November 29).
~~Teen choir is open to all youth in 9th-12th grade.~~

For Children and Youth: Sunday, November 15, 2009

PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): This week in each of our Spirit Play classes we will be hearing a simple story of Jesus' birth called "Miraculously Ordinary Story of a Baby." In this story the children will be introduced to Jesus' birth within the context of a stable, his naming, and things that people have said about his birth: that there were angels, that people traveled to see him, and that a star was fixed in the sky above where he slept. They will be introduced to Jesus as a great teacher who many people believe to be God's son. We have chosen to tell this story in November to coincide with our rehearsal of "Away in a Manger" for the pageant. We'll wonder about Jesus' birth story and, possibly, our own birth stories. We'll wonder about being important and feeling important.

Please don't forget our extended class time this week for preK and kindergartners so that we can rehearse our pageant songs with Madeline. Our preK teachers this week are Gina and Kelley, kindergarten teachers are Lee and Carrie, and our 1st grade teachers are Jen and Joonu.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): Please join us this Sunday for popcorn and necklace-making as we are introduced to a Wampanoag ceremony of thanks. If you are able sometime this week, you are encouraged to research the Wampanoag nation a bit on your own. Your parents might be interested in looking at some of the questions on this link with you. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that no one should force their own religion on other people. Dave and Gillian will teach.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): This Sunday in a lesson called "The Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness," we will be joined in class by a special and memorable "wild-eyed" visitor, "John the Baptizer." Come find out who John was, what he was like, and why he did the things he did. See Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:2-8, and Luke 3:1-17. This lesson will lead into one next week on Jesus' baptism. Our teacher this week is Cassie, with assistance from Parent Helper Matthew.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This Sunday we will have the first of four sessions on Unitarian Universalism. During this series, we'll explore Unitarian Universalist ideas about morality. We'll have a play to act out and bumper stickers to make, so you won't want to miss this! We may also do some more work on our video project. Our teachers are Brandt and Scott.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We'll watch a second segment of the PG-13 movie Antwone Fisher, which is a biographical drama about a member of the Navy who confronts his past in order to overcome it. Eventually he becomes an acclaimed writer and Hollywood producer. In our discussions, we're exploring the theme of forgiveness. For parent information on the movie, click on the movie title above, but please note that we are not showing select portions of the film. For more of a description, see: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808396051/details. Helen and Ken will lead our class.

**7th-8th grade Our Whole Lives (sex ed class) will meet as usual at 12:30pm.

9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Please join us for check-in and social time, for a game or two, and for a possible discussion on some messages in music. Note that next week, Sunday, November 22nd, we will be doing a Thanksgiving bakesale/pie sale during the coffee hour. Please plan ahead to bake some pies, and contact advisor Ted if you have any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Pageant Upates


Last updated 11/10/09

This Sunday, November 15th, several things happen:

1. We continue sign up for the children's Christmas Pageant. Children in the first grade and up are eligible for various parts. Parent helpers of all types are very much needed.

2. We continue teaching our kids in preschool and kindergarten two songs: "Away in a Manger" and "Jingle Bells." These kids will have the opportunity to be in our pageant's Growing Times choir, and meanwhile, all of them learn the songs during Sunday School.

For preschool and kindergarten, please note adjusted class times this week to accomodate learning these songs:


  • Preschool: Will begin at 10:30 and end at the normal 11:40.

  • Kindergarten: Will begin at the normal 10:45 and end at 11:50.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For Children and Youth: Sunday, November 8, 2009

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade: On Sunday we will have a special introduction to our class "church corner," which will contain our liturgical work. We'll begin with a lesson on the water ceremony that we did on ingathering Sunday this fall, upon returning from our summer adventures. As always, the children will have independent worktime following the morning lesson. Parents, please be sure to remember to take your children to the bathroom in advance to minimize potty breaks during class and help us stay within Safe Congregation guidelines. Preschool teachers will be Laura and Gina, kindergarten teachers will be Lee and Diane, and 1st grade teachers will be Joonu and Vivian.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday in a lesson on Sukkot, we'll reenact the Biblical thanksgiving harvest celebration. This amazing lesson involves building a Sukkah, and is not one to miss! Our teachers will be Gillian and Colleen.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): This Sunday we'll be talking about the boy Jesus and his world. What was Jesus early life like? Did he go to school? Where did he attend religious services? What might he have thought about? We'll learn together. See Exodus 20:8-10a, Deuteronomy 5:12-14a, and Luke 2:41-52. Our teachers will be Cassie and another teacher TBA.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This Sunday will be our fourth out of four lessons on religious perspectives on right and wrong. We'll further explore ways people decipher right and wrong actions. Our teachers will be Brandt and Jill.

7th-8th Grade: We'll begin watching and discussing the PG-13 movie Antwone Fisher, which is a biographical drama about a member of the Navy who confronts his past in order to overcome it. Eventually he becomes an acclaimed writer and Hollywood producer. For parent information on the movie, click on the movie title above. For more of a description, see: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808396051/details.

**7th-8th grade Our Whole Lives (sex ed class) will meet as usual at 12:30pm.

9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): This Sunday we will have a business meeting in which we finalize a covenant and firm up our plans for the year. This is an important meeting, so please do your best to come this Sunday if at all possible. Also please bring your personal calendar of any type so you can record important dates.

Monday, October 26, 2009

For Parents of Readers 9-15

Would you be interested in a parents book group for reading and discussion of "young adult fiction" from a religious perspective? Reading is an incredible aspect of the development of one's inner life, and it might be interesting to develop a reader's theology of some type through which we can better understand what our children are thinking about, facing, and doing developmentally.

If you'd be interested in leading or participating in such a group, please contact Sierra-Marie at 508-757- 27 08 ext. 105 or s mg erfa o@ fir stunit arian .com (please take out all spaces).

Sunday November 1st: An Intergenerational Sunday

This coming Sunday we will worship as a congregation of all ages. There will not be children's classes or high school youth group. Instead, we will go to the sanctuary together and worship on All Souls Sunday through:
  • Gospel music
  • Sharing the names of our loved ones who have died
  • A story and readings

Please as a family select a photo or momento from a loved one who has died to bring for our altar. When possible, parents should give children the opportunity to speak the name of this person at the appropriate point during worship.

We'll need ushers in the 4th-7th grade. These individuals will have a special role in the worship service, so will need to arrive at 10am on the dot on Sunday to be trained.

When children arrive on Sunday, they should pick up a worship workbook on their way into the sanctuary. There will be three workbooks available: one for children in preschool through first grade, one for children in second through fourth grade, and one for children in fourth or fifth grade or older. There will also be a quiet sensory/kinesthetic object that comes with the workbook.

We encourage parents to help their children dress up in dark clothes for this important community ritual.

Additionally, it is helpful to speak ahead of time to your children about what a worship service is like. For very young children, it may be helpful to bring a couple small, totally silent toys or books for them to access as needed, but we hope you will still make an effort to impart the solemnity of the occassion to them.

What to Do With Your Trick-or-Treat for Unicef or Guest At Your Table Boxes

Wondering what to do with the boxes you picked up on Sunday?

First, read about the history of the Trick-or-Treat for Unicef tradition here, and the history of the Guest at Your Table tradition here.

If you plan to trick-or-treat for Unicef, you just need to head out with your orange box on Halloween or another pre-arranged day after letting your family, friends, and neighbors know that you are collecting for Unicef. Get more information about doing this, or get an e-card to send to your family, friends, and neighbors here. After you've collected the donations, you can send the money directly to Unicef using any number of options listed here.

If you plan to have a Guest At Your Table this month, you simply need to place your colorful Guest At Your Table box on your dining table, and at mealtimes, "feed" the box with coins or bills throughout the month. On a day of your choosing after Thanksgiving, convert your coin and cash total into a single check made out to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee ("UUSC") and put it back in your box. Bring the box to church on a Sunday before December 13th. Youth/student donations that add up to $10 or more, and adult donations that add up to $40 or more automatically earn a membership with the UUSC. For all kinds of information about Guest At Your Table, please go here.
We have more Guest at Your Table boxes, so if you missed distribution of the boxes on Sunday, don't worry. You can pick one up this Sunday or next.

Report Back From Maryland

Over Columbus Day weekend, two of our youth (Dominique B. and Dan B.) and one of our adult advisors to the youth group (Bonnie H.) very generously volunteered their time for what turned out to be a life-changing mission trip to Elkton, Maryland with the Worcester Area Mission Society.

In addition to talking with Dom, Dan, and Bonnie about their experiences (and thanking them for going), I hope you'll take some time to read about this trip from the perspective of Robin C., the middle and high school youth ministries coordinator at the Holden Street church who also accompanied the youth on this trip:

http://www.uucworcester.org/downloads/Msg20091021.pdf

The group spent their time at Meeting Ground (http://www.meetingground.org/), a "dry" shelter dedicated to homeless families actively trying to get back on their feet. It currently houses 52 people including 26 children.

Among other things, Robin wrote:

"What can we really do for homeless people beyond giving them our time, our coloring books, small bottles of body lotion, toothpaste and shampoo? We carried bags of donated toiletries with us to Maryland, but it did not feel like enough. Our teens painted hallways and the common room. They cleaned up the community garden and fastened new ceilings into trailers that will become additional living space. They played games, gave piggy-backs, and read stories. And our adults took the time to sit down and listen to stressed mothers and lonely fathers. Was that enough? On our long drive back to Massachusetts we wrestled with this question and with our desire to do more. And we came to the realization that what we must do is bring back what we saw. We must spread the word that homeless people were once living in homes; they once were our neighbors." She also recommends that folks check out http://www.onefamilyinc.org/.


Doing puzzles with the Meeting Ground kids.

On a well-deserved break after the massive garden clean-up.

Who are your neighbors now and what do they need? How can we help each other out?

Thank You For a Great Fall Carnival Benefit For Unicef!

Thank you to:
  • YRU2, our high school youth group, and all its adult volunteers who created a very fun fall carnival.
  • The many congregants who brough snacks and cakes to the carnival.
  • All the folks who attended the carnival and supported Unicef.
  • Those who picked up Trick or Treat for Unicef or Guest At Your Table boxes to take home.

A fun time was had, and we raised approximately $250 for Unicef this year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Teen Choir and Mummer's Play activity in November

Hey everybody! Here's an update on what is happening with Teen Choir and plans for this year's Mummer's Play:

Regular Choir rehearsal times: SUNDAYS 5:45pm-6:45pm, Holden Street church sanctuary; note that when the Mummer’s Play rehearsals begin our choir time will mostly be absorbed into the 6-8pm Mummers’ rehearsals. We’ll still start at 5:45 to get warmed up and do a little music prep on the side. Remember, major role actors should prepare for a serious time commitment.

Please email David (davidspanagel@comcast.net) ahead of time if you know you will be absent for any rehearsal or a performance.

Schedule of Upcoming Performances and special dates:

Sunday October 25, 9:00am service Holden Street church (come by 8:30am)

“Everyday People,” David Spanagel director; Matt Johnsen, piano

and “Lean on Me” from the teal supplement, Rebecca Ziegler, director

Sunday November 1

Erik Johnsen will come to talk with us about the Mummer’s Play plans toward the end of our rehearsal (around 6:30pm). [Sierra-Marie – tell downtown church kids they can come for just this 15 minutes if they want to be informed about the auditions.]

Sunday November 8, 10:30 service at First Unitarian (Main Street) church (come by 9:30am)

“Everyday People” and “I am the Seed of Peace”

David Spanagel director; Becky Spanagel, piano

NO rehearsal that same afternoon; INSTEAD Erik Johnsen will hold AUDITIONS from 6-8pm

Friday November 13, Holden Street church youth group coffeehouse 7-9pm (get an extra rehearsal in at 5:30pm?)

“Everyday People”

Regular Mummer’s Play rehearsals begin Sunday November 15, and continue straight through to December 6, 6-8 pm every Sunday (INCLUDING the Thanksgiving Weekend Sunday November 29 that I had originally said would not have any choir rehearsal)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bring a Food on Sunday and Stick Around!

Your family won't want to miss out on fellowship hour this Sunday. It is time for the annual fall carnival fundraiser for UNICEF. This event is a favorite annual tradition and is produced by the high school youth group, YRU2. Please bring some food to share on the snack table, and enjoy fun autumn and Halloween themed activities with your children. All activities cost less than $1, many just $0.25. All proceeds go to Unicef.

If you can let Sierra-Marie know ahead of time the general type of food you plan to bring (call 508-757-2708 x. 105 or email s m gerf ao @ fir stunit aria n.com...please take out all spaces), it will help out a lot with the planning and will prevent a last minute panic and run to the grocery store for the event organizers. Thanks so much!

It's a CakeWalk!


If you are able, please bring one or more cakes on Sunday for the Unicef carnival cake walk. We would very much appreciate help in making this favorite carnival activity a wild success this year! Mmmmm.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): "Small Fry lived in a pond at the foot of great mountain. The dark waters made it impossible for his school of fish to see anything except the watery world in which they lived. All day Small Fry and the other fish swam in circles, round and round, each fish moving at the same time, each in the same direction."

This Sunday's story is "Small Fry." In it, Small Fry -- a fish-- gets a glimpse of the world outside of his pond and is forever changed. This story is a yellow promise lesson: yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Spirit of Love and Mystery that some people call God.

As usual, the morning story will be told with props, and the children are invited to make the story their own during worktime. They also may choose to do art, yoga, reading, or other storytelling during worktime. Our preschool teachers will be Kelley and Laura, kindergarten teachers will be Renee and Diane, and first grade teachers will be Amy and Vivian.

Parents, please don't forget to take your children to the bathroom before worship begins in order to minimize class bathroom breaks, which also helps us stay within our Safe Congregation guidelines.


2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday, we'll celebrate U.N./Unicef Day. We've chosen to do this lesson today because after worship and classes are over, there will be our annual fall carnival to raise money for Unicef. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe we can work together to change the world. You can learn more about our relationship to the U.N. and to Unicef as Unitarian Universalists here: http://www.uusc.org/. On Sunday, we'll learn more, and we'll even be able to help create a Unicef display for the carnival.


4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): Please join us this Sunday as we continue to ask questions and discover answers about Judaism and Jesus. In particular, we'll continue to find out what Judaism was like at the time that Jesus lived. We may work more on our model ancient Palestinian village, so please be sure to wear clothes you can paint in. See Deuteronomy 6: 4-5.


6th Grade (Amazing Grace): This week we'll be joined by a special guest teacher, the Rev. Thomas Schade as we begin to work on a special class project: the first ever First Unitarian news broadcast!


7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We've finally finished "Pay it Forward." We'll discuss it during part of our class this Sunday. We learned through a member of the 225th anniversary committee that the idea the boy has in this movie was actually an idea proposed by minister Edward Everett Hale, who became the first minister of a second Unitarian church in Worcester in 1846. Hale wrote the following motto:

"Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in. Lend A Hand."

This was first published in a story printed via magazine (1870) and then in a book, titled Ten Times One is Ten. This "ten times one is ten" idea is almost exactly the same concept as in "Pay it Forward!" Hale's story and motto became the inspiration for the well-known Lend-a-Hand Society which had active chapters across the nation for many years. We had a Lend-a-Hand chapter here at First Unitarian for many years. There is still a "Lend a Hand" chapter in Boston.

We'll also watch some or all of the Halloween favorite: "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown."




7th-8th Grade (Our Whole Lives): Our values-based sex ed class for 7th and 8th graders began last week and will run continually through the begining of April. We normally meet at 12:30pm. This is a closed-enrollment class, and the enrollment period ended last Sunday. This Sunday we will continue to get to know each other and start talking about values.


9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Teen Choir members will be performing at the Holden St. church worship service at 9am. As promptly as possible, we'll all get to church here at 90 Main Street and work on the Unicef Fall Carnival, which takes a lot of work to set up. Don't forget to bring cakes for the cake walk. The carnival begins immediately after worship, so we'll all need to come ready to pitch in! After the carnival ends, we all help with cleanup.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A New Kind of Team?

The Religious Education department is currently seeking:
  • A spirited pianist and singer who enjoys gospel and similar music
  • A playful guitarist
  • Animated storytellers and lay preachers who relate well to children and who are interested in faith development
  • A sports fan who likes to play games and/or a primary grade teacher who is interested in contemporary and creative alternative approaches to education

Perhaps we can form a team that will enhance the children's chapel worship experience for our 2nd-5th graders this year. The commitment would involve occasional planning meetings and participation in a chapel worship service approximately every 4-8 weeks (average 6 weeks) through this current academic year.

We'd be exploring a new (to us) and different way of worshipping with our children, so volunteers should be flexible, playful, and interested in finding what stirs the soul of our community.

Does this peak your interest? If so, contact Sierra-Marie at 508 757-2708 x.105 or s mge rfa o @fir stunit arian.com (please take out all spaces).

Ministering Better To Families with Special Needs

Dear Friends,

I am currently exploring the idea of creating a team of people who can help us work toward the best possible ministry for folks, and in particular children and youth, with "special needs."

This would require participation from two types of individuals:

1. People who don't want to prepare classes and teach in our children's ministry but who would be willing to participate in our program on a half-time basis in a non-teaching assistant role. We would train these folks to be classroom "buddies" (1:1 assistants) for children who need additional assistance in the classroom. These volunteers would complete an application process (with interview), background check, and screening just as our volunteer teachers and advisors do. However, it is a highly meaningful ministry that some of you may be able to offer others here are First Unitarian Church. Would you consider it?

2. People who are willing to participate in a study-group through this current academic year. This group would do a needs assessment of our ministry in terms of how we serve families with special needs, would create a set of recommendations for how we can move forward, ever-closer to the best possible ministry for these families, and would do some initial planning and legwork to help us start the journey. This would be a seven or eight month commitment only.

If you think either of the above might be part of your own ministry here at First Unitarian, please contact me at 508 757-2708 x. 105 or s mg erfa o@ fir stunita rian.com (take out all spaces).

I look forward to speaking with you,

Sierra-Marie (Director of Religious Ed.)

Middle Schoolers, Don't Forget to RSVP!

Sunday, November 1st, BYKOTA (our middle school youth group) is having lunch together (please bring a bagged lunch with you to church) and then heading out to the Corn Maze at Davis Farmland for an afternoon of fun: https://www.davisfarmland.com/megamaze/index.htm.

We also have our monthly "business meeting" on the 1st, at 9:00am. Please be sure to save the date, as it will be a full day. You should have received your Corn Maze permission form in the mail. If you have not received it, please let us know. Please also be sure to RSVP right away, as we need an accurate count to purchase discounted tickets in bulk.

Thanks for your help, and see you on the 1st!

Update October 19th: The RSVP date for discounted tickets has passed, but it is not to late to get in on this fun afternoon. Please get in touch with us soon so we can make sure we have enough seatbelts for transport.

Miss the Our Whole Lives Parent Orientation?

Dear Parents of 7th and 8th Graders,

The Our Whole Lives (OWL) values-based sexuality education curriculum has something unique and critical to offer our children in an age of values-confusion, technological access, and media exposure. It is far more than children get in their school curricula. For a brief description of OWL, please see our original parent orientation invitation post.

If you missed the orientation on October 4th, or if you know of someone who is interested, there is still an opportunity to enroll kids. We will have a makeup parent orientation within the week. Any parent of a 7th or 8th grader would be most welcome at the orientation. It is tentatively planned for Wednesday evening, October 14th 7:00-9:00pm. Please RSVP ASAP, even if you can't make it (we may switch the day/time of the orientation if folks want to come but can't make it on Wednesday).

This will be the last opportunity to get more information about this program before enrollment closes. While the orientation is a no-obligation event, any parent who enrolls a child must have attended the orientation.

Will we see you Wednesday?

**P.S. Note for parents who did attend the orientation: The decision on the time slot is 12:30-2:00pm. Please let us know ASAP if you plan for your child to participate.

For Children and Youth: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Divali Celebration

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): "One fine morning Mr. Gumpy decides it's a perfect day for an outing in his little boat. Apparently, plenty of others think so too. First some children ask to join him, then a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep...Soon, Mr. Gumpy's boat is precariously full, and there's nowhere for anyone else to go--but overboard! This mild mariner takes everything in stride, though, and his guests are soon bellying up to a nice tea."

This Sunday's story is Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham. This is an orange promise lesson: offer fair and kind treatment to all people. As usual, the morning story will be told with props, and the children are invited to make the story their own during worktime. They also may choose to do art, yoga, reading, or other storytelling during worktime. Our preschool teachers will be Suzanne and Kelley, kindergarten teachers TBA, and first grade teachers will be Jen and Joonu.

Parents, please don't forget to take your children to the bathroom before worship begins in order to minimize class bathroom breaks, which also helps us stay within our Safe Congregation guidelines.

2nd-3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): This Sunday, we'll learn of Divali (also Diwali or Deepawali), commonly known as a Hindu "festival of lights" but also known as a celebration of "awareness of inner light." Come make clay lamps and perhaps even enjoy some Indian sweets with us as we discover where, why, and how this holiday is celebrated and why that is important to us as Unitarian Universalists.

4th-5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of Equals): Please join us this Sunday as we ask questions and discover answers about Judaism and Jesus. In particular, we'll find out what Judaism was like at the time that Jesus lived. We'll continue working on our model ancient Palestinian village, so please be sure to wear clothes you can paint in. See Deuteronomy 6: 4-5.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Let's think about "being good" and "being bad" this week. Through drama and other fun activities, we'll ask: "how does the way we live our lives effect us?" We'll take a look at notions of heaven and hell, and we'll continue our discussion on the concept of sin. Brandt and Jill will join us as our teachers.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): We'll finish watching and discussing the movie "Pay it Forward" this week. We learned through a member of the 225th anniversary committee that the idea the boy has in this movie was actually an idea proposed by minister Edward Everett Hale, who became the first minister of a second Unitarian church in Worcester in 1846.

Hale wrote the following motto:

Look up and not down.
Look forward and not back.
Look out and not in.
Lend A Hand.


This was first published in a story printed via magazine (1870) and then in a book, titled Ten Times One is Ten. This "ten times one is ten" idea is almost exactly the same concept as in "Pay it Forward"! Hale's story and motto became the inspiration for the well-known Lend-a-Hand Society which had active chapters across the nation for many years. We had a Lend-a-Hand chapter here at First Unitarian for many years. There is still a "Lend a Hand" chapter in Boston.

9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): Let's get ready for the fall carnival to benefit UNICEF, which is happening exactly one week from Sunday! Come plan the games, inventory our supplies, make fortune-telling schemes (or not) and more.

Parents/Guardians and youth, please keep in mind that we'll be asking for cakes for the cake walk for the carnival.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Would You Like to Light a Candle?

Each Sunday in the Advent Season, which will begin the last Sunday in November, one of our families lights the advent candles and shares some brief thoughts on one of the following advent themes:
  • Love
  • Hope
  • Peace
  • Joy

Please let Sierra-Marie know at 508 -75 7- 2708 x. 105 or s mge rfao @ fir stunitari an.com (take out all spaces) if your family would like to be one of our advent candle lighters this year.

Thinking Ahead to the Christmas Pageant

Christmas Pageant sign-up will begin November 1st at a special coffee hour table in the Bancroft room. The Pageant is a treasured annual tradition here at First Unitarian Church of Worcester.

Children in the prekindergarten and first grades take part in our "Growing Times Choir," which has its rehearsals during Sunday School. Other children will be able to sign up as follows:

  • 1st-4th graders may sign up to be either angels or shepherds.
  • 5th and 6th graders may sign up for Mary, Joseph, Innkeeper, Angel Gabriel, King Herod, Star of the East, or Wisepeople parts. Younger children may sign up if any of these parts remain open after the 5th and 6th graders have signed up.
  • 7th and 8th graders may sign up as narrators. 5th or 6th graders may be considered for narrators if there are open narrator slots after the 7th and 8th graders have signed up.

The pageant this year will take place during worship on Sunday, December 13th, so rehearsals will be on Saturday morning the 5th and Saturday morning the 12th.

Growing Times choir members do not need to attend the Saturday rehearsals. Angels and shepherds are encouraged to attend both Saturday rehearsals but can also attend just one. Children playing main parts including narrators will need to attend both Saturday rehearsals. All children will arrive early on Sunday, December 13th for a dress rehearsal before the performance.

Parents: We need your help! We will need many of you to sign up for the following:

  • Kid Wranglers: These folks attend the dress rehearsal and usher the children through the rehearsals, making sure the children are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there and that the children are able to learn their parts. We need at least FIVE or SIX kid wranglers.

  • Crafts and Games Designers and Leaders: Periodically, there will be "downtime" for different groups of children during the rehearsals. We need folks to come in and lead the children through holiday crafts and games during the downtime. We also need folks to design and set up the crafts and games. We will need at least THREE crafts and games leaders and at least THREE crafts and games designers.

  • Costumers: These folks help the children get fitted for costumes during rehearsals. For most children, we'll be able to find a costume that fits right "off the rack." A small handful of costumes will need minor alterations, so with simple stitching we take in or let out hems and seams. Occasionally we also make minor repairs to the costumes. Costumers also prepare basic costume accessories such as angel garlands. We will need at least THREE costumers.

  • Hair Helpers: This is a simple job involving helping the children with their hair pieces-- using bobby pins-- the morning of the pageant. We will need at least THREE hair helpers.

  • Growing Times Choir Leader: We need someone to work with our prekindergarten and kindergarten children for 15-30 minutes during Sunday School for two or three Sundays in November and one in December. We need ONE to TWO Growing Times Choir Leader(s). The choir leaders teach and rehearse the songs "Jingle Bells" and "Away in a Manger" with the children.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Can You Bring a Food to the Fall Carnival Benefit For UNICEF?


Each year, the YRU2 High School Youth Group runs the Fall Carnival to Benefit UNICEF, but the Religious Education Committee provides coffee hour hospitality on UNICEF Carnival Sunday. The Carnival will be on Sunday, October 25th this year. As a small (and mighty) committee, we need to ask for your help. Please consider signing up to bring some food for the carnival. Sign-up will take place downstairs in the RE area, on the Welcome Table.

Food often but not always has an autumn or Halloween theme. Ideas include:
  • Veggie trays
  • Fruit trays
  • Little sandwiches
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Pumpkin bread or other breads
  • Popcorn in-a-cup
  • Olives
  • Sushi or vegetable "sushi" rolls
  • Cookies, small tarts, or pies cut into slices
  • Pretzels, with or without a dip
  • Apples with caramel dip
Feel free to get creative!

Note: The coffee hour foods are not part of the fundraising. This is "hospitality as usual," but we try to make it an especially big and fun spread!

For Children and Youth: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): Please join us this Sunday as we hear a story of Chickadee and Cardinal, who will find out how one single snowflake can break an entire branch off a tree. This story is a first/red promise story (respect each person as a child of God).

As usual, our storytime is followed by a worktime with child-directed activities. Parents, don’t forget to take your kids to the bathroom before church so we don’t have too many bathroom breaks to take during class. Our preschool teachers will be Gina and Suzanne, kindergarten teachers will be Diane and Carrie, and our first grade teachers will be Vivian and Jen.

2nd and 3rd Grade-5th Grade: 2nd-5th graders, please join us this Sunday for a children's chapel worship service. We'll explore the difference between a promise and a wish, extend a hand of friendship, and celebrate the season. We need readers and musicians, so have your parents let Sierra-Marie know (508- 757-27 08 x. 105 or sm ge rfa o@ first uni taria n.com, take out all spaces) if you would like to do either.

6th Grade (Amazing Grace): Have you ever heard of "Pandora's Box"? Come find out what was in that box, and share your ideas about wrong and right, good and evil, sin and virtue. (Note to parents: 6th graders often LOVE to talk about evil and good overcoming evil!) We'll have more opportunities for acting, and we'll begin discussing projects to put our faith in action. Parents, to see this lesson as written in the original curriculum, visit this link. Our teachers will be Bunny and Marcia.

7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology): "Helping out is not some special skill," Ram Dass and Paul Gorman write in How Can I Help? "It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part or time of ourselves. We simply heed the call of that caring impulse within and follow where it leads?" We'll continue watching and discussing "Pay it Forward" this Sunday as we examine the act of loving kindness even in conditions of difficulty. Ken and Tim will be leading.

9th-12th Grade (YRU2 Youth Group): We look forward to seeing you this Sunday for check-in, socializing, a discussion related to "messages in music," and/or initial preparation for the UNICEF carnival. Teen choir will not rehearse this Sunday due to the holiday weekend.

Peace Vigil Postponed Due To Weather

Hi Everyone!

The Peace Vigil hosted by the UU church on Holden Street has been postponed to Oct 17th same time and place: 6:30-7:30pm, 90 Holden Street in Worcester.

Teen Choir members...we will still need your voices on the 17th! There is practice tonight from 5:45 to 6:45pm at Holden Street. New voices WELCOME!! Please give it a try!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

H1N1 Updates

The Worcester Public School District has set up a page with H1N1 information. Some of this information would be helpful for all of us.

Click here to be taken to that page.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tentative Teen Choir Schedule through December

Regular rehearsal times: SUNDAYS 5:45pm-6:45pm
Rehearsals at Holden Street church sanctuary (90 Holden Street)

Please email Co-Director David at david sp an agel @ co mcast . n et (take out all spaces) ahead of time if you know you will be absent for a rehearsal or a performance.
**NOTE: NO rehearsal on Columbus Day weekend (Sunday October 11). Note other "no rehearsal" dates-- related to holidays or performances-- below.

Schedule of Upcoming Performances and special dates:

Saturday October 3, 6:30-7:30pm Holden Street church (come by 6pm to warm up)
MUSIC: “I Am the Seed of Peace” Rebecca Ziegler, director; Becky Spanagel, piano.

Sunday October 25, 9:00am service Holden Street church (come by 8:30am)
MUSIC: “Everyday People” David Spanagel, director; Matt Johnsen, piano, another song from the teal supplement (“Lean on Me”?). ***NOTE time is 9:00am due to the UNICEF carnival.***

Sunday November 8, 10:30 service here at First Unitarian Church
MUSIC: “Everyday People” David Spanagel director; Becky Spanagel, piano
NO rehearsal later that same afternoon/evening

Friday November 13, Holden Street church youth group coffeehouse 7-9pm (get an extra rehearsal in at 5:30pm?)
MUSIC: “Everyday People” (yet again?); or something else?
NO rehearsal on Thanksgiving Weekend (Sunday November 29)

Saturday December 5, Winter solstice celebration at First Unitarian (time?)

Saturday December 12, Boar’s Head festival at Wesley Methodist church, Main Street (will there be another Mummer’s Play this year?)

Sunday December 20, 9:00am Solstice service at Holden Street church (come by 8:30am)

For Children and Youth: Sunday, October 4, 2009

Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade (Spirit Play): We have our first Spirit Play story this week! We begin with our Flaming Chalice story, a story about our Unitarian Universalist covenant. We’ll learn our first three promises now (respect each person as a child of God, offer fair and kind treatment to all, and yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the Mystery), and the last four promises later in the year. Parents, don’t forget to take your kids to the bathroom before church so we don’t have too many bathroom breaks to take during class.

The Flaming Chalice Lesson


2nd and 3rd Grade (Holidays and Holy Days): Come discover Ramadan with us, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar! Ramadan is marked by a month of fasting, in obedience to God’s command, as well as by reflection and worship. Some Muslims consider it the most holy time of year. At the end of Ramadan comes Eid ul-Fitr, a festival to break the fast.

4th and 5th Grade (Jesus and the Kingdom of All Equals): Jesus’ times were long ago, and in some ways like our own, in others different. Please join us as we learn about the context of Jesus’ life. We’ll be building our own ancient Palestinian village!

6th Grade (Amazing Grace), 7th-8th Grade (Popcorn Theology), and YRU2 (High School Youth Group): We enthusiastically invite and encourage you this Sunday to attend the worship service with your parents, as we celebrate our designation as a (GLBT) Welcoming Congregation by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Accordingly, we will not have classes for these groups this Sunday.


**Parents of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders don’t forget to attend the OWL orientation on Sunday at 7:00pm. See you there!

**Parents of 9th-12th graders: Please don’t forget the beverage-sale fundraiser at the First Unitarian Church yardsale this Saturday. Make sure your youth is signed up for a shift!

Another Approach to the Coming Holidays

Many of us are familiar with the idea of giving to good causes as an alternative to traditional gift giving during the holidays. Recently, some churches have been exploring the idea of how to unite many people around a single cause that we could "knock out" with just a portion of our country's holiday spending. It is possible that such an effort could make a tremendous difference in the world.

Here are a couple of videos that take this same idea, and the same cause, and speak to it in a couple different ways. Check them out:



Monday, September 28, 2009

Faith Affirming Holiday Gifts for Unitarian Universalist Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

Planning ahead for holiday gifts? You might want to check out:

Books

Stickers/Posters

Hymnals/Songbooks

Wearable Art (all genders)

Miscellaneous

And for much, much more including but not limited to chalices, wearable art, UU Principles pencils, key rings, a variety of notecards, books, and music, check out http://www.uniuniques.com/.